Program Improvement through Planning

GSS

By Gwynne Scheffer

Program planning is critical to delivering a high quality and comprehensive Head Start and Early Head Start programming. Determining community strengths and needs and using a systematic process for creating achievable goals, writing plans and meeting fiscal objectives is the foundation of the continuous cycle of key management systems outlined in 45 CRF 1304.51(a) o f the Head Start Performance Standards.

One resource that offers a great starting point to deepen your understanding is The Program Planning Cycle document available on the Head Start Early Learning and Knowledge Center (ECKLC), http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/docs/planning-cycle.pdf.

As a visual learner, I appreciate graphics. Whether you are a new or existing program, the diagram on Page 3 provides you with an easy to follow overview of the steps in the planning cycle. In addition to the listing the steps in the planning cycle, there is an outline of data activities that occur at each step and diagram on Page 5.

To further support your understanding of the concepts outlined in the planning cycle document, download, The Head Start Program Planning Cycle PowerPoint for trainers, http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/docs/planning-cycle-presentation.pdf from The National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (PMFO) series, Management Matters. Once you download the .ppt, in addition to reading walking through the planning cycle, you will have access the trainer’s notes for each slide making it a wonderful resource for professional development.

In the words of Winston Churchill,

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

These resources may help you facilitate change, and so can we!

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If you are in Round 4 DRS and need help with your grant application, or if you are a delegate or otherwise qualified agency considering your options, please be in touch.  We have successfully worked with agencies in every round of recompetition to write winning grants, design competitive programs, confirm prudent budgets, and plan for a manageable start-up period.  If you are an EHS-CCP initial award winner, we offer start-up services. Please do call 703-599-4329 or email Augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com

How to check on the DRS4 FOA status

You are probably wondering when the DRS4 funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will be available.  You might even be wondering what it will look like and how you will know.

We usually post these directions for each group at about this stage in the process and based on the number of questions we’ve had this week, it is about time to post them again.

The countdown for your grant application begins on the day the FOA for your service area goes published on grants.gov.  Rounds 1 and 2 had 90 days but round 3 only had 60 days.  Every single day counts so it is best to know on day one.  Before it goes live it will be forecasted on ACF’s grant forecast.

Here are the steps to check on the status of the DRS4 FOAs:

(This is not intuitive at all…so if you feel at all frustrated or confused, you are not alone.)

  1. Either go to bing, or your search engine of choice and type in “ACF grants forecast” and the top selection should say “Grants Forecast – Administration for Children and Families.” Click on that.
    OR
    Type this into the browser:   http://www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast/
  2. Look about a third of the way down in the middle of the page and you’ll see a text box with a blue title row with the word “Agency” in white writing attached to a bigger, light blue box with lots of acronyms in darker blue writing.  You are looking for “ACF (###)” – the number varies –  which at the top of the left column inside the light blue part of the box.  Click on that.
  3. In the search box (off to the right), type 93.600 and click enter.
  4. Click the “show” drop down menu and select 100.
  5. Go to the third column and click on the column title “Last Updated”.  It will go from oldest to most recent, so click it a second time and you’ll see the column from most recent to least recent.
  6. Right this second, the most recent FOA to be forecasted is “National Center on Health and Wellness” – that was on 2/10/15 and isn’t it, obviously, but it tells you that you haven’t missed it.
When they are forecasted, they will look like the one you can see on 8/29/15 – Head Start and Early Head Start Grantee – Lucas County, Ohio. The difference is that now that indicates that it was posted to grants.gov (as indicated in the far right column, ‘status’).
We would expect the FOAs to be forecasted soon.  You can check the status using these steps and know that we’ll notify everyone here, too.
Thank you.
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If you are in Round 4 DRS and need help with your grant application, or if you are a delegate or otherwise qualified agency considering your options, please be in touch. We have successfully worked with agencies in every round of recompetition to write winning grants, design competitive programs, confirm prudent budgets, and plan for a manageable start-up period.  Please do call: 703-599-4329 or email Augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com

DRS Round 4: Number of grantees is down but number of states impacted is up

On or before December 15, 2014, 87 grantees were informed that they will have to compete for continued funding of their Head Start or Early Head Start programs in the 4th round of DRS (Designation Renewal System).  Per 45 CFR 1307, these programs met one or more of seven specific conditions, or triggers, that now put a grantee agency into recompetition status.

In this round, 40 states (including the US Territory of Puerto Rico) are home to the 87 grantees on the recompete list.

It is interesting to compare the four rounds in terms of numbers of grantees on the list per state. This list represents the top three states, by number of grantees on the list, in each round. While the numbers in the top three slots went down, the number of states impacted went up.

Round 1
1. Virginia (11)
2. Ohio (10)
3. New York (9)

12 states had zero grantees on the Round 1 DRS list.

Round 2
1. New York (18)
2. Texas (8)
2. Louisiana (8)
3. Illinois (6)

14 states had zero grantees on the Round 2 DRS list.

Round 3
1. Texas (11)
2. Louisiana (10)
3. Pennsylvania (9)

12 states had zero grantees on the Round 3 DRS list.

Round 4
1. Pennsylvania (6)
2. Texas (4)
2. Louisiana (4)
2. Florida (4)
2. North Carolina (4)
2. Michigan (4)
3. New York (3)
3. Georgia (3)
3. Missouri (3)
3. Ohio (3)
3. Kansas (3)
3. Kentucky (3)
3. New Jersey (3)
3. Wisconsin (3)

10 states had zero grantees on the Round 4 DRS list.

Later this week, we’ll look at how this list compares to the list of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership preliminary award winners. Just as it was possible for the Round 2 and 3 grantees to apply for the EHS-CCP opportunity, it is true that the preliminary award winners can also be placed in DRS.

Thank you.

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If you are in Round 4 DRS and need help with your grant application, or if you are a delegate or otherwise qualified agency considering your options, please be in touch. We have successfully worked with agencies in every round of recompetition to write winning grants, design competitive programs, confirm prudent budgets, and plan for a manageable start-up period.  Please do call: 703-599-4329 or email abaugenblick@gmail.com.

Interested in the EHS-Child Care Partnership opportunity?  We are following that topic, too.  Please visit our sister blog and learn more.